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Characteristics benefits and drawbacks of the Monopoly

I. Introduction

Markets will be the core of a capitalist or free market economy which is based on the notion of competition. Varying degrees of competition in the end lead to different market set ups with different effects to the marketplace. The primary market set ups are perfect competition, monopolistic competition, oligopoly and monopoly, each with some other outcome to the market that leads economists to consider some market set ups to be more desired for the modern culture such as perfect competition while others are less suitable such as Monopoly.

It is often argued that monopoly restricts competition through accessibility barriers and for that reason should not be allowed. This is often supported by a strong case against monopoly as it restricts consumer choice and avoids small ground breaking businesses from being founded. Furthermore, a monopoly will produce at a lower output and fee higher prices than a competitive market, with the same cost composition. This will lead to a lack of economical welfare and efficiency. However, if we suppose that monopolies are always bad then it'll raise questions of why businesses seek to be monopolies and why do governments agree to or tolerate monopolistic firms.

In theory monopoly is a market structure with only one organization - the industry demand curve is the firm's demand curve - that dominates and models price and quantity of the good. The assumption is in monopoly that we now have no substitutes and so a firm is a price-maker who is motivated by earnings maximisation and it is backed by restrictive obstacles to admittance of the market that subsequently stops competition.

In simple fact a theoretical monopoly is most improbable as it is unusual to find a market where some type of substitute organization or product will not exist. As a result, the Competition Percentage in the united kingdom defines a market as being monopolised if there is a firm possessing on the 25% market share and facing no significant competition.

In order to judge monopoly and also to determine whether it ought to be allowed or not, it is essential to comprehend the characteristics of monopoly and apply various efficiency principles such as profitable efficiency, allocative efficiency and X-efficiency to both extremes of the market structure, perfect competition and monopoly, to understand their effect on both consumer and company surplus by means of households and firms which consequently have an impact on the general financial welfare.

II. Characteristics of Monopoly

There are various characteristics of monopoly but it is principally recognized from other market buildings by its barriers to entry. These barriers are a number of obstacles or limitations that prevent other firms from breaking in to the monopolistic firm's market, thus allowing the monopolistic organization to keep its monopoly and for that reason continue to earn supernormal gains.

Sloman (2010) shows that barriers to the admittance of new organizations are a must for an existing firm to keep its monopoly position. There are a variety of entry obstacles that would are present in market in different forms such as economies of range, economies of scope, legal patents, licences, product differentiation and high start-up costs.

Economies of size are considered as one major hurdle, this occurs when a reduction in product costs depends on the result size. In such circumstance, a large firm is most effective and new businesses cannot afford to enter the marketplace and gain market stocks. The industry may well not be able to accommodate more than one producer which is known as natural monopoly. This is the case with open public utilities such as normal water, gas, electricity where these companies have economies of range to avoid new companies from entering the marketplace.

Economies of opportunity is another hurdle as organizations who produce a range of products will probably achieve lower average costs of production and undercut prices to drive new firms out of the market. Proctor & Gamble likes economies of scope as it produces hundreds of products but could find the money for to employ expensive skilled staff and experts who can use their skills over the product line and therefore spread the costs and lower the average total cost for each product. (Alesina and Spolaore, 2005)

Patents and licences are also considered main admittance barriers. The US Patent and Brand office issues patents for 20 years period, in accordance with the 1995 GATT arrangement. (USPTO, 1995)

These patents give an inventor the exclusive to produce a product for a twenty years period like the circumstance of the pharmaceutical large, Pfizer, that includes a patent on Viagra until 2014. (Stevens, 2007)

Likewise, licences are awarded by governments which allow one or a few firms to use in a specific market under government restrictions and control.

Product differentiation and brand commitment where a firm produces a differentiated product and the buyer associates that product with the brand.

An example of product differentiation would be the car industry, where different companies would produce substitutes however they are not considered as perfect substitutes as required in perfect competition, so each firm would have some form of monopoly ability in its product category. That is clearly visible in the luxury sport autos market such as Ferrari, Porsche and Lotus.

Other varieties of entry barriers can include high start-up costs for new firms in comparison with an established monopoly company which will probably have gained enough experience and efficiency ways to have the ability to reduce costs and hence charges for any potential new organizations to be able to compete.

Based on the characteristics of monopoly, it is important to evaluate its economic efficiency and therefore its effect on consumer surplus and social welfare in general. Within the next section, we compare the economical efficiency of both extremes of the marketplace structure.

Economic efficiency

In economic conditions, monopoly and perfect competition should be judged on the level to that they contribute to enhancing the human being wellbeing and social welfare, therefore, it's important to assess if the market framework is useful or inefficient.

Nellis and Parker (2006) point out that the success or failing of companies is directly damaged by the magnitude to that they are managed efficiently. The lower the cost per device of outcome, without reducing the quality of the product, the bigger the financial efficiency of a firm.

This is clearly evident in a competitive market where companies strive to be economically effective in order to endure. However, this isn't the situation in a monopoly which is generally regarded as an inefficient market composition. This is clarified by the next analysis of varied economic terms of efficiency.

Allocative efficiency

Assuming a short syndication of income and riches, allocative efficiency occurs at the point when it is impossible to boost overall financial welfare by reallocating resources between markets.

For the complete overall economy to be allocatively productive, price must equal marginal cost in every market. However, it is improbable that a monopoly seeking revenue maximisation would be allocatively successful. A monopoly is much more likely to restrict result below the marketplace equilibrium to pressure up the costs.


Welfare loss

MR AR=Industry demand=MU

Q2 Q1 Output

Figure 1 - Allocative efficiency and welfare loss

The allocatively useful end result is Q1 where P=MC. As of this output, Mu=MC, meaning all items produced add more to welfare (MU) than the resources they cost to make (MC). This is the free market equilibrium. A monopolist will seek to increase their own profits and can produce at Q2 where MC=MR. Because of this, some units that could have been beneficial to world (having MU>MC) are no longer produced, leading to a standard welfare reduction.

Productive efficiency

This can only be achieved if a firm uses the available techniques and factors of production at the lowest possible cost per product of productivity.

Richard Lipsey areas that in the framework of an industry, the interpretation of effective efficiency is the fact firms are functioning so that costs are minimized. (Lipsey and Harbury, 1992)

In monopoly, in contrast to perfect competition, there are no competitive forces that would make a firm hold costs down to the very least.






Q2 Q1 Output

Figure 2 - Productive efficiency

The productively reliable outcome is Q1, the minimum amount point of the AC curve. At this output, unit costs are C1, meaning that the least amount of scarce resources possible are being used per product of productivity. A monopolist is unworried relating to this, because higher costs can be offered to the buyer to at least an scope. Which means monopolist will produce at Q2, the earnings maximising outcome, incurring costs of C2 per product.


The concept of x-efficiency requires that the lowest possible prices are paid for inputs or factors of development.

However, there exists less motivation for a monopoly to use the available technology and management techniques, mainly due to insufficient competition.

Monopolies are more likely to be theoretically and productively inefficient, incurring unneeded development costs and lost resources.

A firm could be employing too many workers or investing in machines that are never used, deeming it officially inefficient. It could be paying its staff unnecessary high pay or buying capital or uncooked material at needless high prices.

This means that the monopolist's LRAC is above that which would be technically possible, therefore resources are squandered.


LRAC monopoly

LRAC possible

= X-inefficiency


Figure 3 - X-efficiency gap

The x-inefficiency difference, as shown in amount 3, is recognized as unnecessary production costs a firm can reduce.

In a correctly competitive market, a company must eliminate any form of x-inefficiency to be able to survive also to make normal revenue.

However, this isn't the case with monopoly, which have the ability to make it through while incurring needless creation costs and making sufficient alternatively than maximum profits.

The analysis of economic efficiency of your monopoly in comparison to perfect competition has highlighted a number of disadvantages to support economists' circumstance against monopolistic firms.

IV. Disadvantages of Monopoly

In general, a monopolistic market framework would produce less end result and charge higher prices which brings about a drop in consumer surplus and a deadweight welfare reduction. The higher prices would lead to allocative inefficiency and supernormal revenue, leading to reduced benefits to consumers and unequal distribution of income.

This also raises a question about equity. The higher prices would exploit low income consumers and their purchasing power might be transferred to shareholders by means of dividends. This will likely again lead to unequal circulation of income.

A monopoly may very well be less encouraged towards financial efficiency such as chopping costs or increasing productivity. There is also a possibility a monopoly would experience diseconomies of range as the higher it gets bigger, their average costs increase.

Further more, having less competition could discourage a monopoly from buying research and development, leading to lack of innovation and worse products.

However, with all the current proof against monopoly, there are still the questions of why do monopolies remain, why firms seek to be monopolies and why do government authorities tolerate them?

V. Benefits of monopoly

On economic conditions, perfect competition is normally thought to be more desirable than monopoly. However, monopolies aren't necessarily an undesirable thing, considering they are really as highly motivated and public-spirited approximately competitive business.

Economic theory assumes that many people are motivated by self-interest; this pertains to competitive markets just as much as it pertains to monopolies.

Firms in competitive marketplaces would like to be a monopoly by eliminating competition but this is improbable to be achieved due to market pushes and the absence of obstacles to entry and exit.

The fact that monopolies make supernormal gains allows them to invest in research and development. It also allows them to fund high cost investment spending into new technology. That is likely to direct result, if successful, in much better products and lower costs on the long run.

An innovative monopoly could therefore be considered dynamically efficient more than a long term as it reaps the incentive of investment in research and development. Microsoft didn't start as a monopoly however the introduction of Glass windows version 3. 0 in 1990 accompanied by various Microsoft Office applications provided the market power to become a monopoly. Their position as a monopoly was further cemented by the ongoing investment in research and development.

It is normally argued that monopoly in high technology sectors is a good thing as it provides firms with a greater incentive to invest in research and development. Patents for new ideas are usually suitable as it induces firms to fund the original research and development and it allows these companies to recoup their investment.

Another benefit of monopoly is economies of range. An increased output would lead to a decrease in average costs of development, which may be approved to consumers by means of lower prices. Moreover, trimming prices would be an advantage for a monopoly as it could increase sales and maximise economies of scale.


S (Perf comp) = "C



LRMC (monopoly)

D industry

Qpc Qm

MR (monopoly)

Figure 4 - Market equilibrium under monopoly

As shown in amount 4, the market is at first in perfect competition, and is also in equilibrium at Qpc, where resource = demand. In case a monopoly needed over the forex market, in the long run, they would have the ability to rationalise all the average person factories, and generate economies of range, driving down marginal costs to LRMC. The income maximising output would now be Qm, and also to sell this, a cost of Pm would be needed - lower than in perfect competition due to huge economies of scale. Therefore both consumer and manufacturer are benefiting in cases like this - revenue and consumer surplus are both higher than they might have been under perfect competition.

Other arguments towards monopoly are a domestic monopoly may be had a need to create the economies of range needed to remain competitive on the planet market. BT's local monopoly in the 1980s allowed it to get heavily in phone systems technology which provided it a major talk about of the world market in cell phone exchanges, improving the UK's current profile on the balance of obligations.

VI. Conclusion

Despite the fact that monopoly produces less productivity at higher prices and the negative implications on consumer surplus and interpersonal welfare, nevertheless, the presence of monopolies are inevitable so long as firms seek earnings maximisation as well as increased market share and finally market dominance.

In a free market economy, the chances of supernormal income will eventually encourage other businesses to try and break into a monopolistic market. The threat of competition or even a financial threat of a takeover will pressure a monopoly to be highly economical efficient. The American economist William Baumol argues in his theory of contestable markets that a monopoly may be forced over time to help make the same development and pricing decisions as a competitive market would, merely due to the opportunity of future competition. (Griffiths and Ison, 2001)

From the above analysis, it is simple to summarize that perfect competition is productively more efficient than monopoly. However, if we take into account the large economies of scale that a monopoly could have, then it is more likely that a monopoly is more productively efficient than competition. In some instances, like a natural monopoly, it is more acceptable to have just one single firm as a monopoly provided that its price and output are controlled.

Von Mises (1966) concludes that the mere existence of monopoly will not imply anything. The publisher of any copyright e book is a monopolist, but he may not have the ability to sell an individual copy, no matter how low the purchase price he asks. Don't assume all price of which a monopolist sells a monopolized product is a monopoly price. Monopoly prices are only prices of which it is more advantageous for the monopolist to restrict the total amount to be sold than to increase sales to the limit which a competitive market allows.

Although monopoly is not advisable as it restricts competition and causes a reduction in consumer surplus and social welfare, it is however unavoidable in a genuine business market a organization would often take advantage of its strong market position to control the supply of goods or services. Monopolies are not unlawful but their mistreatment of market capacity to limit competition is illegitimate and therefore activities by governments to regulate the market would be needed.

Finally, all firms are worried with determining the purchase price level that would provide them with sufficient revenue while retaining the consumer's attraction and demand. This should work in the benefit of consumers and the culture if restrictions are in place for government authorities to intervene when a company abuses its monopoly capacity to the detriment of consumers.

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